Curriculum, Kits & Lesson Plans

Wisconsin Water Library > For Parents, Teachers & Librarians > Curriculum, Kits & Lesson Plans

The library loans a variety of education kits to formal and informal educators as well as to librarians and parents in support of Great Lakes and water science literacy. In addition to the loanable kits, most of the associated curriculum is available online. The topic and grade/age level for each kit and lesson plan is noted below.

We would love to hear about your experience using the kits or lessons please send us an email.


These curriculum kits were developed by the education staff with Wisconsin Sea Grant. To learn more about Wisconsin Sea Grant’s education opportunities and resources for educators, visit their website.

Trash Trunk

For all ages
Topic: Marine debris
The Trash Trunk is designed for both formal and informal educational settings. The loanable trunk contains an Educator’s Guide with fourteen lessons and activities reprinted from a variety of sources, informational display cards, and supporting materials needed to perform the activities. The activities are presented in three sections addressing the origins of marine debris, its impacts, and what can be done. Educators may select a single lesson or develop a unit utilizing Trash Trunk content, supplemental materials, and common classroom supplies. The Trash Trunk Educator’s Guide and Display Cards are available online.

Borrow a Trash Trunk

Plastic Panic
(Updated Summer 2023)
For all ages
Topic: Plastics
Plastic Panic lesson
Model the journey water takes at a Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) through a series of hands-on steps around a tabletop model. Learn about our microplastic pollution problem, and discover what happens to the pollutants as they enter and pass through a WWTP. Can be use for informal learning and can be adapted to other settings.

Borrow the kit

Aquatic Invaders Attack Pack

For grades 4 through 10
Topic: Aquatic invasive species
Related lessons

The Attack Pack is a rucksack filled with materials to help students and other groups learn about Great Lakes aquatic invasive species, the problems they cause and what can be done about them. Download the classroom guide (updated 2018) and species sheets (updated 2018)

Borrow an Attack Pack

ROVe Pack

For students in grades 6 though 9
Topic: Engineering
Webpage with lessons and activities

Middle school students can experience the engineering process while learning about Great Lakes maritime history and underwater exploration with this loan-able pack. ROVe (Remotely Operating Vehicles and Engineering) provides a rich learning experience aligned to the engineering principles found in the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards). The ROVe Pack provides the lesson plan and equipment necessary for teachers to carry out the engineering design process with their students as they build their own simple ROVs within a regular classroom while using common classroom supplies and a small children’s pool.

Borrow a ROVe Pack.


For ages 4 though 10 (or older)
Topic: Great Lakes fish
Online curriculum
Related lessons

The Fish-o-pedia Pack is an education pack filled with materials to help teach students and other groups about Great Lakes fish. Each pack includes average size vinyl cutouts of twelve native and non-native Great Lakes fish. The pack also contains the Fish-o-Pedia cards – filled with facts and figures about each of the species. Also included is the 4th edition of The Life of the Lakes: a Guide to the Great Lakes Fishery (2019) Brandon C. Schroeder, Dan M. O’Keefe, and Shari L. Dann with Michigan Sea Grant.

Borrow a Fish-o-pedia Pack

Great Lakes Basin Map

Fun for all ages
The Great Lakes Basin map illustrates the 2,212 mile journey from the tip of Lake Superior out to the Atlantic Ocean. The map includes a depth profile of the lakes and major rivers within the system, shows the direction and volume of flow through each of the lakes, and represents the journey of water from Lake Superior out to the Atlantic Ocean.

Order a map from Michigan Sea Grant

ROVe The Great Lakes

For grades 6 through 10
Topic: Maritime History and Underwater Exploration
Webpage with lessons and activities

Middle and high school students can experience Great Lakes maritime history and underwater exploration with this loanable pack. ROVe the Great Lakes provides a rich learning experience aligned with Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Social Studies, Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards for Literacy and the Great Lakes Literacy Principles. Students will explore Great Lakes maritime vocabulary; maneuver a remotely operated vehicle (ROV); enhance their communication skills through information-gathering, presentation and creative writing opportunities; and learn about various careers, specifically maritime archeology, that use remotely operated vehicles.

OUR STEM KITS for loan
(updated August 2018)

The library STEM KITS are designed with librarians in mind and are geared for children ages three through nine. However, they can be adapted to library programs where older (and younger) siblings may come along.  The kits are interdisciplinary – they involve literacy, science and art on a water-related theme.

Does it Sink or Float?

Jump Around With Frogs

Once a Pond a Time 


These lesson plans libraries are geared for children ages three through nine, though toddlers and older children have enjoyed the activities too. The lesson plans are interdisciplinary – they involve literacy, science and art on a water-related theme and can be also be used at home, in a preschool or in an informal learning environment.

All the Water in the World about our drinking water supply updated September 2018

Blubber and Books updated September 2018

Come Out of Your Shell all about Turtles updated April 2020

Fowl Into the Water updated September 2018

(Garbage) At the Beach?!  on marine debris updated May 2020

Gone Fishing! Great Lakes Fish and Fishing updated April 2020

Garden of Readin’ updated May 2020

Reading in the Rain (and Under the Clouds) updated April 2020

Ride the Water Cycle updated May 2020

Can Water be Sticky? on the wonderful properties of water updated May 2020



Think Like a Scientist – beginning to think like a scientist by observing and asking questions.

Simplified Scientific Method – four of the many steps of the scientific method – a great start for preschool and early elementary school.


Do-It-Yourself Science

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